40th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 2

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24-Oct-1996 01:12:30
Organization of African Unity supports second term for Secretary-General President of Cameroon tells General Assembly at the 40th plenary of the 51st session.

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Prime Minister of Bangladesh Also Addresses Assembly; Texts Adopted on OAS, International Seabed Authority, Panama Canal Congress
President Paul Biya of Cameroon told the General Assembly this afternoon that, as current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), he had been instructed by it to undertake the necessary contacts to ensure a second term for Africa at the head of the United Nations, with Boutros Boutros-Ghali as the OAU candidate.

In his address to the Assembly, President Biya also said that the regional mechanism for the settlement of disputes established by OAU members in 1993 had become the paramount mechanism of preventive diplomacy in the region. However, in order to flourish, regional initiatives must receive adequate material and technical support. He stressed that for Africa, peace was an absolute requirement, so that all of the continent's resources could be committed to development.

Also addressing the Assembly this afternoon, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh said that the least developed countries had been unable to share fully in the new growth opportunities in the world economy. In Bangladesh, the problems included the weakness in social and economic infrastructures. Private investment funds were difficult to attract and, thus, larger flows of concessional funding were essential. Without that investment in human capital, the least developed countries would fall further behind in the new age of technology, where the wealth of a society would be determined by its ownership and ability to create new ideas.

In addition this afternoon, by three resolutions adopted without a vote, the Assembly:

-- Expressed satisfaction at the close cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS, in particular their successful collaboration in Haiti through the International Civilian Mission to Haiti (MICIVIH), and emphasized that such cooperation should be conducted in accordance with their mandates, competence and composition;

-- Invited the International Seabed Authority to participate in its deliberations as an observer; and

-- Reiterated its support for the Government of Panama's convening of the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, in preparation for the Canal's future role.

Introducing the latter text, the representative of Panama said his Government was committed to continue to use the Canal for the benefit of the whole of humanity. Speaking before Assembly action, France's representative said that his Government had convened the Paris Conference at the end of the last century, where it was decided that a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans would be built. Today, 118 years later, it was still committed to helping the Canal continue to be a vital part of world trade. The representative of the United States said that it was committed to turning over a world-class Canal, as useful to the shipping world in the twenty-first century as it had been during the twentieth. The representatives of Argentina, Ecuador and Haiti also spoke on the text.

Statements on the resolution on the OAS were made by a representative of that organization, as well as by the representatives of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Haiti. The draft was introduced by the representative of Honduras.

The resolution on the International Seabed Authority was introduced by the representative of Jamaica, the Authority's host country. The Secretary- General of the Authority, Satya Nandan, also spoke.

At the outset of the meeting, the President of the General Assembly, Razali Ismail (Malaysia), expressed sympathy to the Governments and people of the Bahamas and Cuba for the extensive material damage they had suffered from the recent hurricane. He expressed the hope that the international community would respond promptly to any request for help. Representatives of both countries thanked the President for his expression of sympathy and welcomed any international offers of assistance.

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